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Mathematical Sciences

Worshipful Company of Actuaries Lecture by John Taylor

Published: 18 February 2020
John Taylor lecture

Technology: A Red-Eyed Terminator or an Actuary’s Best Friend?

The School of Mathematical Sciences was delighted to host our annual Worshipful Company of Actuaries lecture on 5 February 2020. This year, our speaker was John Taylor, President of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries.

John delivered an interesting and wide-ranging talk about the potential impact of technological developments, such as artificial intelligence, on the future of actuarial work and the profession. He contended that such developments will create greater opportunities for actuaries to move beyond their traditional sectors of insurance and pensions and contribute to a broader range of important issues, such as climate change and consumer finance. John also emphasised that, in an increasingly data-driven world, actuaries are well-positioned to extract commercial value from such data, working alongside data analysts. In a lecture about the influence of technology, John retained an optimistic view of the future of the actuarial profession and indeed of humanity, and peppered his talk with some highly motivating quotations, including from the celebrated University of Glasgow Rectorial Address by Jimmy Reid.

We were pleased to welcome local actuaries from firms such as AA Insurance, Aviva, HSBC, INQA, Just, Lane Clark & Peacock LLP, LV=, OAC, Old Mutual Wealth, Quilter, Reassure, and Vitality Health, in addition to representatives from the Worshipful Company of Actuaries and the Wessex Actuarial Society.

John commented “I’m grateful to the University of Southampton and The Worshipful Company of Actuaries for affording me the opportunity to engage with current and future actuaries on this topic. I thoroughly enjoyed comparing perspectives with such an engaged and informed audience during the lecture and then again informally afterwards.”

There was a good attendance by students on our undergraduate and master’s programmes in Actuarial Science, as well as those on our other Mathematical Sciences programmes who are interested in pursuing actuarial careers. Students found the lecture interesting and motivating, and helpful in identifying the possible future paths that their career as an actuary may take. The reception following the lecture afforded our students the opportunity to network with the attending actuaries in an informal setting, to learn more about the profession and actuarial careers, and to discover how they can make a difference in the future.


Worshipful Company of Actuaries Prizes

Two of our current third year students were awarded prizes for their performance in their second year by Simon Dudley of the Worshipful Company of Actuaries:

Vasilis Pepetsios for top performance in second year of the BSc Mathematics with Actuarial Science programme. (right photo)

Advait Vimal Manur for top performance in second year of the BSc Economics and Actuarial Science programme. (left photo)

Advait Vimal Manur and John Taylor
Vasilis Pepetsios and John Taylor

About John Taylor

John Taylor

John is the current President of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries. Prior to joining Hymans Robertson, John spent most of his career in executive level roles with a variety of product providers, including as Managing Director at NEST.

After gaining a B.Sc. and Ph.D. in Pure Mathematics from The University of Glasgow, he started his career as a trainee actuary at Standard Life in 1994. Since qualifying as an actuary, John has focused on marketing and distribution in pensions, savings and insurance.

John is Chair of the Scottish Financial Risk Academy, a collaborative venture between academia and business. John is also involved in what’s commonly described as “robo–advice”. In essence, this involves making actuarial modelling accessible and meaningful to consumers as they seek to understand financial choices open to them.

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